Disclaimer: Wholly original work.
Characters/Pairings: Implied Tula/Ethan
Summary: Ethan's first visit to Ruame.
Notes: For KSW #12. 1/2 Hour Timed.
Ruame was certainly an interesting town, Ethan noted as he passed under yet another paper-flower garland strung from one building to another across the alleyway. The city seemed so culturally alive that Ethan was really quite surprised. There were performers almost everywhere he looked and now, ignoring the brightly painted brickwork he passed by and the paper flowers overhead, this was the first bit of silence he'd found since wandering into the city nearly an hour before.
Getting directions to the address scrawled on a scrap of paper by his master hadn't been the hard part. The hard part was not stopping and staring at every sight he came across, whether it be twins juggling wine glasses between themselves or a woman with the voice of an angel playing her harp on the corner as if it were the most natural thing in the world. There had been a girl with long blue braids telling stories to a group of children in the central square and a troupe of dancers made an impromptu parade to block his path not once but twice.
Ethan knew he could easily lose himself in Ruame, and that's why he was worried. He was only to visit a man, Spetulin, in order to get a certain artifact for Jameson. And then he was to leave - no lingering, no dawdling... He had been instructed to make the journey on foot to begin with, which meant he'd already traveled for weeks. And surely Jameson knew how long the trip took and would know instantly if his charge had fallen victim to temptation.
The alleyway turned, not losing its bright murals or grand decoration, leading now not to a street but a dark door adorned with only a shimmering golden star. Instantly, Ethan knew this was the place he was looking for.
He didn't hesitate to knock - years as a servant to Death herself took away most of his shyness - and waited patiently as he heard someone or something moving about inside. Finally the door swung open and Ethan couldn't help but let his jaw drop. He had expected an aged wizard or perhaps a retired priestess, not the creature that greeted him.
"What is your business, traveler?" the man, definitely a man, asked, brushing back ruddy hair from his face.
"I am Ethan of the D'Army. I was sent by Temple Mage Jameson of..." Ethan was silenced as the man held up a hand.
"Ah, Ethan-is-it? Come in. It may take me a day to find the relic of his that I keep, but find it I shall!" Stepping aside, he gestured for Ethan to step through the door. As Ethan's eyes adjusted to the dim candlelight, he couldn't help but be further amazed. The inside of the building, Ethan wasn't sure if it was a shop or residence, was chaotic. Things were placed everywhere, lacking rhyme or reason.
"Oh, yes, a little messy isn't it? But I can always find something when someone wants it back. That's the trick."
Ethan raised an eyebrow, just enough that he was caught by his host who had moved to take Ethan's cloak.
"Forgive my manners - too many things and not enough people tend to make me quite socially clumsy! I am Spetulin of Ruame, though please call me Tula. Did Master Jameson explain to you just why I've been holding something for him?" Tula pulled Ethan's cloak away and tossed it behind him, paying no attention as it covered a rusting set of Northland armor.
"He didn't," Ethan replied, trying to figure out just what sort of creature Tula was. Not human, but not purely Animan like Jameson. He hadn't seen more than a handful of half-breeds, either, and none with the grace and attractiveness of both races. His skin was the dull red that made Ethan think of Jameson's fingers and his hair was tinged with gray despite his face seeming young.
"Anything left in this place is safe. This is the safest place in all of Agassia, you see."
Ethan was at a loss for words. After all, there were things everywhere.
"Where's your cloak, then?"
Turning, Ethan's cloak had completely vanished. And instead of the Northland armor, a gilded chair sat in the same spot, a terrible yet beautiful stuffed bird sitting on one arm. No wonder Jameson had entrusted something so special to such a strange character.
"Amazing," Ethan muttered. "So where is Jameson's item?"
"I'll have to think about it," Tula said apologetically, scratching the back of his head. His outfit didn't seem out of place for Ruame, a beautiful tunic and loose pants. As he turned, Ethan noticed that Tula had a fox tail as well to compliment black-tipped ears.
Most of the half-breeds that Ethan had seen looked so much more human, so much less crafty and fox-like.
"Perhaps we should just sleep on it," Tula said suddenly. "It's evening after all, and you look as though you've walked this distance without companionship or proper rest."
Ethan was torn between a smile and a smirk. Leave it to Jameson to send him to a wolf in fox's clothing. Still, it would sate his curiosity as to the complete anatomy of his host. He was growing more and more curious about just what Tula looked like beneath that tunic, if that reddish skin turned to a pale cream on his stomach, if he had fur anywhere besides his tail and ears, if he bore the ornate tattoos of any of the gods or goddesses...
He wondered just what Tula would taste of, which world, which land. Or if perhaps, he wondered as a group started singing somewhere nearby, if this half-breed creature of Ruame would taste of something absolutely unique.
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